When Valentine’s Day approaches many of us conjure images of chocolate and flowers. However 2021 has been anything but a conventional year. As Duke Libraries’ Librarian for Film, Video & Digital Media I would like to highlight three movies that reveal an unconventional side of love.
Rizvan Khan is an Indian Muslim man with Asperger’s Syndrome who falls in love with a Hindu woman in the United States, post-9/11. This feature film depicts the resentment that ordinary, law-abiding Muslims felt about their treatment by fellow Americans and delivers a strong message that Hindus and Muslims should work together against the common enemies of extremism and intolerance. With a running time of 245 minutes, settle in for a long night of viewing pleasure. (Lilly DVD 17475 and streaming online for Duke users)
At age 23, Simi Linton was injured while hitchhiking to Washington, D.C. to protest the war in Vietnam. As a young college student, newly disabled, she confronted unimaginable discrimination. Years before the Americans with Disabilities Act was conceived, Linton emerges in Invitation to Dance as a resourceful activist, and in time realizes that love, sexuality, and dance can once again become a part of her life. (Lilly DVD 27418 and streaming online for Duke users)
Directed by Jenni Gold, the first female wheelchair-using member of the Directors Guild of America, CinemAbility explores how disability has been portrayed on screen in Hollywood over the past 120 years. Nearly all characters in film and television have been played by abled actors, leaving our collective perception of disability skewed. Gold interviews abled and disabled people from in front of and behind the camera to dissect and examine the history of representation. (Lilly DVD 32937 and streaming online for Duke users)
Code of the Freaks (2020, dir. Salome Chasnoff) is another compelling documentary that focuses on these issues.
(Streaming online for Duke users)